An Edmonton couple has ended a quarantine on a cruise ship docked in Yokohama, Japan and will soon be starting a new 14-day quarantine back home in Canada.
Jenny and Mark Rodrigue have disembarked the Diamond Princess cruise ship, which forced a quarantine on its passengers after one passenger tested positive for the coronavirus, and were waiting to get on a charter flight back to Canada when they spoke with Global News on Thursday.
“It was really, really nice,” Jenny said.
“We love the ship – don’t get us wrong. But to be confined in your room 24/7 for two weeks, that’s a little difficult. So getting off the ship was a blessing.”
Jenny said a Canadian Army doctor and nurse assessed the couple on the ship, took their temperatures and asked whether they had any symptoms.
Then the couple handed over documents confirming they had tested negative for the coronavirus and signed papers to disembark the cruise ship.
The couple boarded a bus that took them from Yokohama to Haneda Airport in Tokyo, where the plane is waiting.
“Right now they’re looking after the plane, loading up luggage, making sure the medical team knows what they’re doing on the plane. They’re going to be testing us every so often on the plane,” Jenny said.
Jenny said the couple has mixed feelings about leaving.
“We love Japan but it’s really nice to be in our own country,” she said.
The charter plane will fly the evacuees from Japan to the Canadian Forces Base in Trenton, Ont. They will be assessed then transferred to the NAV Canada Training Institute in Cornwall, Ont. for an additional 14-day quarantine period.
“I think it’ll be OK,” Jenny said.
“We’re fine. We’re positive people. Two weeks out of our life – four weeks actually. Almost there.”
Two elderly passengers taken off the quarantined cruise ship Diamond Princess because they were infected with the new virus have died, Japan’s health ministry said Thursday, becoming the first fatalities from the virus-stricken vessel.
The new virus began in China late last year and has sickened tens of thousands of people, mostly in central China’s Hubei province. The 621 cases confirmed among the Diamond Princess’ original 3,711 people on board are the most anywhere outside China. In all, Japan has more than 700 confirmed cases, including the country’s first death unrelated to the ship.
Those Canadian passengers who have tested positive for COVID-19 will remain in Japanese health facilities. Forty-seven of about 250 Canadian passengers had been struck by the bug at last count, according to Canadian authorities.
–with files from the Canadian Press and the Associated Press